Advanced composite materials technology for rotorcraft

Andrew Makeev, Charles E. Bakis, Eric Strauch, Mark Chris, Peter Holemans, Gina Miller, Don Spencer, Nicolas Patz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Composite materials are increasingly used in rotorcraft structures to reduce weight and improve efficiency. The rotorcraft industry is constantly in need of higher-performance materials that offer improved mechanical strength and stiffness at a lower weight. In polymer-matrix composite structures, matrix-dominated failures impose severe limitations on structural performance. The objective of this work is to advance composite material technologies for rotorcraft through the use of nanoadditives to improve structural efficiency. Technical challenges and potential solutions for improving matrix-dominated performance of prepreg composites through nanoparticle reinforcement, are discussed. In particular, a promising technology for improving compression and interlaminar strength and fatigue performance, is identified. The advanced materials technology is based on high weight content loading of approximately 100-nm diameter nanosilica particles in low-viscosity resins. Such technology resulted in compression strength improvement for intermediate-modulus carbon-fiber/epoxy-matrix 250° F curing prepreg composites as recently demonstrated by 3M. This work not only supports the initial findings of 3M regarding the improvement of compression strength performance but also demonstrates improved interlaminar material properties including fatigue performance, and expands the material design space. Fatigue performance is critical to rotorcraft dynamic components as they are subject to extreme oscillatory flight loads that can result in material fatigue failures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication39th European Rotorcraft Forum 2013, ERF 2013
PublisherRussian Helicopters
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781510810075
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013
Event39th European Rotorcraft Forum 2013, ERF 2013 - Moscow, Russian Federation
Duration: Sep 3 2013Sep 6 2013

Publication series

Name39th European Rotorcraft Forum 2013, ERF 2013


Other39th European Rotorcraft Forum 2013, ERF 2013
Country/TerritoryRussian Federation

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Instrumentation


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